Microbial Toxicity and Degradation of a Monoaromatic Crude Oil Fraction

M. Frenzel1,2, S.J. Rowland2, A. Scarlett3, A.M. Booth2, T. Galloway3, S.K. Burton1 and H.M. Lappin-Scott1


1

School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, Hatherly Laboratories, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter EX4 4PS, U.K.
2 Petroleum & Environmental Geochemistry Group, SEOES, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K.
3 Ecotoxicology & Stress Biology Research Group, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K.

Presented at: 160th Meeting of the Society for General Microbiology, Manchester, U.K., 26-29 March 2007.

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Brief Summary

Fractions of oil which are resistant to weathering represent large volumes of environmentally toxic waste comprise complex mixtures of chemicals. Such fractions are unresolved by conventional analytical methods. A bacterial consortium enriched from Whitley Bay sediment, UK has been previously reported to degrade alkylcyclohexyltetralins proposed as model compounds for such oil fractions. In the present study, a monoaromatic hydrocarbon fraction isolated from Venezuelan TJP crude oil was subjected to biodegradation by the Whitley Bay consortium. Hydrocarbon degradation, and changes in the UCM composition were quantified using GC-MS and GCxGC-TOF-MS. Microbial community stability was assessed by PCR-DGGE of the 16S rRNA gene. Microtox studies of the isolated fraction were performed before and after exposure to the Whitley Bay consortium using a Vibrio strain. This characterised microbial consortium is thus able to aerobically degrade these hitherto recalcitrant toxic oil fractions.

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